"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Juan from New York, NY
Do the Falcons blow it all up? They just seem to have way too much talent on that team to be where they are.
I'd blow it up. They should trade or cut any player they don't value and whose trade or release would return a draft pick. That goes for any team because all teams should be vigilant about protecting their future. For example, I think the Steelers should release Donte Moncrief before the Week 10 free-agent deadline. He was a bad free-agent signing who's buried on the depth chart. Cutting him before Week 10 would bring the Steelers a third-round pick in compensatory pick consideration.
Wes from San Antonio, TX
Is the Patriots defense really this good, or have they just been fortunate to play some pretty poor teams/offenses thus far?
We're going to begin answering that question this week because the schedule toughens for the next several weeks: Cleveland, at Baltimore, at Philadelphia, Dallas, at Houston, Kansas City. My inclination is to believe the Patriots defense will prove its worth.
Chase from Rapid City, SD
The Packers defense, though it is making the big plays at the right time, is allowing just too much. Offenses seem to be running over us, both on the ground and in the air. Is this a symptom of having a fairly young defense overall, especially secondary wise?
I think we're still in the stage of evaluating the Packers defense. It wows us with its pass rush but disappoints us with its softness against the run and the total yardage it's allowing. I've been watching the Smith Bros. closely on running downs. Clearly, they are pass rushers; playing the run is not their forte.
Gerald from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, now that the cancerous drama has been eliminated, the Jaguars can get back to drafting and developing jars on the shelves. It’s refreshing to know the quarterbacks give them a chance to be competitive for the foreseeable future. A bright future! What are your thoughts?
If Gardner Minshew is "The Man," the Jaguars can attempt to trade Nick Foles and clear a huge burden from their salary cap. If they're successful at that, the cap room and the two ones the Jaguars stole from the Rams will make the future of the Jaguars brighter than it has been at any time in the quarter-century history of the team.
Craig from Cedarburg, WI
Has Cousins turned a corner in his last three games, or do you expect him to come back down to earth?
One of my favorite offensive coordinators, Dirk Koetter, was fond of saying, "If you can do it once, you can do it every time." Kirk Cousins has played at his current level through stretches of his career. I didn't think I'd be saying this, but he appears to be settling into the high level of expectation his contract demands and, if that's true, I would expect Cousins to carry the Vikings to a big game against the Packers on Dec. 23. I hope it happens that way. I love big games.
Jason from Austin, TX
Vic, that fumble through the end zone rule needs to be abolished. Give the fumbling team the ball at the spot of the fumble. The Raiders game would have been totally different if they got a TD instead of a fumble. I understand it was called correctly based on the rule, but that rule has to go. Do you like that rule?
No. I say give the offense the ball, but penalize it 10 or 15 yards from the point of the fumble and with loss of down. If the play isn't penalized, we're gonna have guys throwing the ball at the pylon, as Derek Carr did.
Bernabe from Monterrey, Mexico
Vic, just wanted to know your opinion on the Jaguars. Do they have enough for a playoff push?
The next four games are a critical stretch in the Jaguars schedule. With a win over the Jets on Sunday, the Jaguars would be 4-4 and poised to make a second-half-of-the-season run. That run would begin with three consecutive AFC South games: Houston in London, at Indianapolis and at Tennessee. Again, I have to scold the Jaguars for agreeing to give away a division home game. They'll play three division games in a row and none of them will be at home. That's wrong.
Nick from Owego, NY
Which teams do you think are poised for a midseason rally to make the playoffs?
In the NFC, there's a growing separation between top and bottom. I think the NFC race will be a little more predictable. The fun will be in the bunched up AFC. I have a feeling someone's going to come out of nowhere, get hot and take a wild-card spot. That's as far as I'll go right now. Let's revisit this question in a couple of weeks.
John from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
With receivers being a dime a dozen, why did the Patriots trade a second-round draft pick for a 30-year-old Sanu?
Bill Belichick and Thomas Dimitroff are best buddies; they talk on a regular basis. Dimitroff confided in Belichick when Dimitroff was considering the big trade up to draft Julio Jones. I suspect Belichick has a special role in mind for Mohammed Sanu, approached Dimitroff about acquiring Sanu, and for allowing Belichick to acquire Sanu Belichick gave his buddy more in return than Sanu is worth. Sometimes it happens that way. When Jim Finks was the general manager of the Bears, he traded a running back to the Steelers for past considerations. We all knew what future considerations meant, but we had never heard of past considerations. "I was once their quarterback," Finks said. Once upon a time, football was fun like that, but no more. This is very serious now!
Offense, defense rankings
Here are the Week 8 "Ask Vic" all-important power rankings:
1. Patriots -- Schedule toughens.
2. 49ers -- Singing in the rain.
3. Saints -- Here comes Brees.
4. Packers -- Rodgers on top of his game.
5. Vikings -- Hot on the Packers' heels.
6. Ravens -- Bye and then the Patriots.
7. Colts -- Building momentum.
8. Seahawks -- Ravens exposed Wilson.
9. Rams -- Ramsey cancer or the cure?
10. Bills -- Keep an eye on these guys.
11. Panthers -- Major test at 49ers.
12. Texans -- They don't win the big ones.
13. Chiefs -- Nice play call, Andy.
14. Cowboys -- OK, let's see you do it again.
15. Eagles -- Pederson should fine himself.
16. Bears -- Arrow is pointing straight down.
17. Lions -- At a crossroads.
18. Jaguars -- They're in the hunt.
19. Titans -- Is Tannehill the answer?
20. Raiders -- Pass defense was embarrassed.
21. Browns -- At the test in New England.
22. Steelers -- Playing for pride.
23. Cardinals -- Best 3-3-1 team in the league.
24. Chargers -- They should be better than this.
25. Broncos -- Now what?
26. Bucs -- At Tennessee, at Seattle.
27. Giants -- Hard times have returned.
28. Jets -- Sing along: Still awful after all these years.
29. Falcons -- Scarlett, the house is on fire.
30. Washington -- Nobody cares.
31. Bengals -- Bring back Marvin Lewis.
32. Dolphins -- Haven't played their best football yet.